GIG : Brian Wilson
Venue :  Royal Festival Hall, London
Date : Friday 16th September 2011
Cost : £55 (no booking fee)
Our Verdict : Add Some brilliant Music To Your Day

Brett, Nelson & Jeff
The Royal Festival Hall is an iconic venue for any Brian Wilson fan. It was here that he did “Pet Sounds” almost 10 years ago, premiered SMiLE in  2004 and the venue commissioned “That Lucky Old Sun”. Now, for the first time, London was going to hear “Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin” in its entirety.

As with the other shows on this tour, the first set was the Gershwin album from start to finish. Brian seemed very relaxed and comfortable and this shone through in the performance tonight. He seemed to particularly like the performance of “It’s Wonderful” and as with all of the other shows, “You Can’t Take That Away From Me” delighted the audience and really made the whole auditorium come alive.

Tonight we really noticed Nelson Bragg’s percussion, especially on “Our Love Is Here To Stay” where the soft brushing on a drum skin was so audible. Probyn Gregory delivered a fabulous piece of guitar on “I’ve Got A Crush On You” and another real crowd pleaser was “I’ve Got Rhythm” which got such a great round of applause and cheering from the audience.

Again, all too quickly the first half ended, with the superb “Our Prayer” type harmonies on reprise of “Rhapsody In Blue” and us, the audience were left to discuss the highlights of this show.
Mike D'Amico

Nicky Wonder
The second half began with “California Girls”. Brian’s vocals were quite weak on “Dance, Dance, Dance” but he perked up again the for a new number added to the set, “Wendy”. We were really treated tonight with another new addition, “Surfer Moon” which was a little gem. The Stockholm Strings sounded fantastic on this one. Another new number was “Add Some Music” which Brian introduced with “It will blow your mind”. And it did – it sounded amazing, with the flute and drums really standing out. Sunflower is well up there in our top albums, and it was fantastic to hear this song back in the set list.

“Please Let me Wonder” remained in the set, and for the first time we heard the spoken “I Love You”, and again, we were delighted to hear “Your Imagination”.

Next up was another new ear tickler... “Goin’ Home” with Darian Sahanaja on the main vocals and also playing the Moog..... (he loves his geeky toys!) . Paul Von Mertens also did  a mean harmonica solo on this one.

Brian sounded so beautifully soft on “God Only Knows” and he got the standing ovation and rapturous, continuous applause he has had for this song on every show we have been to.

The set still had the great band member shine throughs – Darian on “Darlin’”, Nicky Wonder leading “Pet Sounds”, Scott Bennett singing a really soulful “Sail On Sailor” and Jeff Foskett with his falsetto lead on “Don’t Worry Baby” & “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”.

The encore had the usual favourites and during “Help Me Rhonda”, Scott was all over the stage, banging a tambourine, sharing a mic with each band member and joined Probyn and Brett Simons in a bit of formation dancing.
Brian plays his bass guitar during the encore

The second encore was “Love & Mercy” and we left the RFH with a lovely warm glow.

 The warm glow lasted through to the early hours of the morning, where a post show party for the fans had been organised, and 6 of the band turned up to mix and mingle...... it was past 2am before we saw our beds! Roll on night number 2.
Brian had the opportunity to talk guitars with Nicky Wonder

Minty managed to get Wondermints in the same place at the same time!

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